I’ve got…..

…..the post-holiday blues ūüôĀ

Now I’ve got my chosen photos back from Boots, I’ve made a start on the latest cruise folder, which is a labour of love but it just makes me want to go away again! ¬†And at the moment it’s still 16 months until our next cruise – BUT we have the brochures, we have clear calendars, we even have some initial prices. ¬†So watch this space!

Our next break is in September, to see our family who still live in west Cornwall. ¬†We’ve rented a holiday ‘lodge’ for a few days, so that’ll be very different! ¬†Before that we have our daughter and grandson coming to stay (son-in-law is working yet again), so that’s somehing to look forward to.

That’s just a short catch-up post from me – just to prove we’re still here!

Adonia to France and Spain

Deb has published a blog about our experiences on P&O’s Adonia on a short break to France and Spain. ¬†I have also put my thoughts together about the cruise, and although our views are really very similar, there will be a few differences.

Sit back and enjoy my memories of Adonia to France and Spain.

__________________________

July 27th

Our overnight stay in Southampton was really rather pleasant. The hotel room (Holiday Inn) gave us a lovely view of the port area where P&O’s cruise ship Adonia would be waiting for us in the morning.

After settling in, and having a shower, we set off for the city to get some food. We looked at the new shopping complex in West Quay that has a wide variety of fast food outlets, and it was tempting, but our well tried and tested routine convinced us to carry on to Bella Pasta where we have eaten for several years on our pre-cruise evenings.

…sadly it proved to be a bad decision.

We were greeted and seated by a polite and cheerful waiter, and chose a starter of garlic bread with pizza to follow – so far so good. Then we sat and waited while watching the place fill up with happy customers, who were enjoying the atmosphere, and food.

The garlic bread arrived and it was an unusual variant on this familiar taster, but perfectly enjoyable. Then we sat back and sipped our soft drinks awaiting the pizzas. Soon I was looking at my watch as they were taking a long time to arrive, and the doors of the theatre opened at 7:00. Eventually just ten minutes before the theatre beckoned, we asked what was happening, and were told that the food would be with us in a few more minutes. This was not good enough, and we said we had to go. We asked for the bill to cover the starter and drinks, but to ease our annoyance slightly, they said there was no charge. We thanked them and scampered off towards the Mayflower Theatre.

We had 15 minutes to wait once seated before the lights went down, and the show began.

It was a new show called “The Addams Family” with Samantha Womak and Les Dennis as the better known actors. We had no idea what to expect, but within 10 minutes we were giggling along with the musical fun.

It was a delightful evening. It was a simple plot but the cast worked hard, and the audience was enjoying the humour and singing.

I will say no more to spoil anyone else’s enjoyment of the show, but we came out some three hours later happy, and the lack of food forgotten.

After a quiet stroll back to the hotel we had a (very expensive) nightcap glass of red wine while we chatted about the show, and of course, the week to come on Adonia.

 

Friday 28th July

 

We both slept better than expected but were up early to have breakfast. With food finally filling the void in our stomachs, we turned to the suitcases. They were repacked, and zipped up, except for one which we kept open for any final bits that we might get this morning.

Then it was off for a walk around the shops.

Although not as easy as we expected, we did find the things on our shopping list and decided it was time for coffee. When I looked at my watch, we realised it was later than we thought so returned to the hotel. The final bits were packed away and we transferred ourselves, and the luggage, to the foyer to await our taxi.

As we sat with a coffee, we spotted Les Dennis being hassled by hotel guests for a photograph. As he walked by (for his breakfast) we thanked him for a wonderful show. ¬†He was friendly, and delayed his food for further couple of minutes to chat. They are taking the show around the country and hope it eventually gets a run in the West End…but acting is a fickle game, and although we enjoyed the evening, there is no way of telling how reviews will go around the rest of the country.

Bang on 11:30 our taxi arrived, and whisked us off to the Mayflower Cruise Terminal. We were some of the first and were quickly processed through check-in and soon sitting in the VIP lounge area with a cup of coffee and cake.

At 12:15 we were roused from our relaxation and escorted out of the departure lounge and onto Adonia. Deb and I passed through the security checks without any delays, and were the first to walk along the air bridge and into the ship.

Our latest maritime adventure was about to begin, and within five minutes of being on the ship, we were smiling as we sat with our first glass of fizz anticipating what the week would bring.


My Impressions of Adonia

 

It is small.

But this is not a bad thing….just different.

You can walk the length of the public area in less than five minutes, and have time to glance at the shop windows on the way. With only 600 to 700 passengers it has more than enough places to sit and read, or have a drink and a friendly chat. Meeting new people seems easier with a small number of passengers, and you will soon be chatting to new people, unless you really want to isolate yourselves.

On deck five (the main public deck) the show lounge (Curzons) is at the front. It was never full, and has a range of seating with good views of the stage area. There is also a small floor which is used for dancing before the shows begin, and later in the evenings. Just back from here is another large lounge (Andersons) which was often busy in the evening and especially during the Syndicate Quiz when all the available seats were usually taken. To one side of Anderson‚Äôs is the Photography shop with its display boards. It was not very busy on this cruise, and at ¬£10 for the ‘welcome on board’ photo, I can understand why.

Moving back again to the centre of the ship, there is an atrium area with shops, Future Cruises and Loyalty desks. A staircase here leads down to deck four for the Reception area. Walking through this area you come to the final public area of this deck with Raffles for those coffee and cake moments, and then the Pacific Dining Room at the stern of the ship. This restaurant serves all the passengers in two sittings for dinner, as well as casual servings of breakfast and lunch.

Above this public deck there are the three main passenger accommodation decks. The cabins are virtually all with balconies, except a handful of basic inside and outside ones. The balcony cabins are quite a good size, but many people were disappointed with the small en-suite with a tiny shower, sink and toilet. We never had a chance to see these cabins as the special offer we took advantage of gave us the chance to splash out on a suite for the first time.

Our suite was at the stern of C Deck (level 6) on the starboard side, and it was enormous. It took up over a third of the width of the ship, meaning it was over twice the width of the two standard cabins that were between us and the other suite on the port side corner.

Our temporary home had a sitting area that was as big as many modern day family lounges. For those relaxing moment there is a settee, two arm chairs, and coffee table. Then there was a circular dining table with four chairs. Along one wall there is a large unit with wide screen TV, stereo and DVD as well as the fridge and a cupboard of glasses.

The bedroom was similarly generous, including a large dressing area. It has masses of storage…three large wardrobes, a dressing table and various cupboards and drawer space.

The giant bathroom included a Jacuzzi bath plus a large sink with load of space for washing bits and pieces. Oh, and there was a second separate toilet for guests, or those urgent moments when two are needed.

Outside we had a balcony that wrapped around the corner with doors from both the lounge and bedroom areas. It gave us superb views as well as room for two loungers (in comfort) plus another dining table and chairs, and a further two chairs to suit our desires. We could have had a party out there for a good size number of friends without feeling crowded.

This cabin was sensational, but to be honest this was just a treat to try out the experience, and I doubt we will ever have a suite again. Personally we found it difficult to justify the space, but it was superb, and the balcony was amazing…

…and we never really found enough for the butler to do.

Let’s go back to the rest of Adonia.

Up on deck 10 at the front is the Crow’s Nest. Once again there is plenty of space to be sociable, or to keep to yourselves. The room is well used for various activities during the day with the passenger choir, quizzes and Battle of the Sexes challenge. We even spent an enjoyable hour there taking part in a drama class reading from a script. In the evening the grand piano is used by the various singers, or the bands provide music to relax to.

Above this lounge is the open air Observation area for the dedicated sun lovers. We never explored up there as the wind would not have made it very comfortable.

Going out of the door of the Crow‚Äôs Nest there is the open deck that equates to the promenade area with a small rectangular walkway in the fresh air. Apparently, going around the deck for 14 and a bit laps equates to a mile. I think I might get dizzy if I tried that. The deck 10 level overlooks the sheltered Lido pool and sun worship area, but if you go to the stern end there are doors into a pair of select dining rooms ‚Äď The Ocean Grill and The Glass House. We ate in both and the food and service was exceptional.

Down to Deck 9 and the Lido was well used in what good weather we had, although I don’t remember seeing anyone in the swimming pool. Even with the wind that we suffered throughout the cruise, the Lido area is sheltered and a lot of people enjoyed the sun loungers, or the Jacuzzi pools.

To one side at the front end of the Lido deck is the Card Room which doubles up as the cinema. The rest of the space is the Spa area and Gymnasium. There is even a private sheltered area at the front for the paying Spa customers…not us!

The décor is different to the other P&O ships.  Instead of light coloured wood features, it is all dark wood giving quite a dark feel as you walk around the public areas. To give a little light there are a lot of mirrors , and this perhaps makes it feel a little bigger as well. Another difference is the use of brass for the stair rails. I am sure I occasionally smelt that old familiar odour of something like Brasso.

There was possibly one little negative aspect of the smallness and open style of public space. There is music being played everywhere in the evenings. You can’t find anywhere to sit in peace or to have a chat with friends. In general the musical entertainment was of a very high standard and we listened to it quite happily, but sometimes we just wanted to have a conversation with our new friends without having to shout, and without annoying others around us listening to the music.

On balance I think the ship is really rather special, and lives up to its description of being the ‚ÄėLittle Gem of the P&O Fleet’.

Friday evening

 

After our welcome buffet and drinks we found our suite and unpacked. It was so strange having more space than necessary for our clothes and holiday bits.

After much deliberation we booked the Ocean Grill for dinner while it was 30% off the cover charge. This also allowed us to get to know the location, and the waiters who would be serving our rather exclusive Suite Passenger breakfast.

As usual the food and service in this Select Dining area was superb, and also as usual we ate too much to be able to have a pudding.

With the meal over we went to a show in the Curzon Lounge. Being so small, Adonia doesn‚Äôt have a full-blown Headliners group ‚Äď they have their own specialised Theatre Group with just a four singer/dancer team. This first 45-minute show was superb covering a range of songs with a Motown theme. The lounge was not busy at all so no problem finding a good seat.

When we left the Curzon Lounge we went to for a quiz run by Aaron (from our Aurora world cruise), and then gave in to tiredness.

The sea was not calm and the captain had warned us to be prepared. Suitably dosed with my little white pill I relaxed into the bed, and although waking quite regularly with the movement and noise I slept reasonably well.


Saturday 29th July – Sea Day into the Bay of Biscay

 

I was not happy! My head and stomach were not talking to each other and I knew sea-sickness was my going to be my main concern for the day.

Deb went to breakfast alone and I searched for a less wobbly place to concentrate on something still….nowhere to be found!!

When Deb found me she described a very friendly breakfast, and even the offer of a Buck’s Fizz, to welcome her (well, us really) aboard. I was feeling a little better and we had a walk around the wet and windy Lido deck before returning to the cabin. That was enough to send me back into nausea so I lay on the bed and Deb went to read elsewhere around the ship.

Fortunately, late in the morning I decided my stomach had forgiven me and I felt well enough to join up with Deb and the rest of the ship’s passengers. At midday the ship was still rocking and rolling but I was managing to feel suitably clear-headed to join in with the choir. It was run by Kelly Young who is the singer from Adonia‚Äôs resident band, along with the guitarist playing the piano. While I was exercising my vocal chords, Deb had some lunch, and then came back to the Crow‚Äôs Nest when the singing had ended. We then both had some fun with the play reading session, hosted by two of the singers. Really good fun!

Then it was the Battle of the Sexes with Deb as captain of a successful ladies team, while I struggled with the men who were given a good thrashing.

This had been a very busy three hours and it was time for me to have some lunch in the buffet. It was very quiet up there, probably because it was nearly 3:00 and afternoon tea had begun. Hence my lunch, and first actual food of the day, was a scone with jam. On the other occasions we used the buffet it was quite crowded, and not easy to find places to sit.

It was time to go back in the cabin now for a well-earned rest. The weather was far from suitable to make use of the balcony and I was quite happy to lay on the bed for a few minutes. After receiving instructions from the butler on how to use the Jacuzzi, we both tried it out before it was time for dinner. I would describe it as an interesting experience, but not something that was overly exciting. In reality the bath shape, and the water inlet at the back of the bath was making it very difficult for me to get comfortable. Also the small amount of shower gel I put in made the bubbles get perilously close to overflowing.

It was the ‘welcome on board’ cocktail party and the formal clothes came out for the first time. The Curzon Lounge was not busy and we sat with a couple of glasses of fizz and listened to the Captain make the usual ‘hello’ speech while he introduced his top team.

Our evening meal was in the main dining room tonight. We had four others on our table. There was one couple of a similar age to us and then two sisters who had both left their partners at home. We chatted but it just wasn’t a comfortable friendly atmosphere. The meal was ‘average’ but the service was painfully slow. It was so slow that the second sitting were waiting to come in as we left, and there were many others still eating. I let my feelings be known to the head waiter as we left.

Back to the Curzon Lounge, and the show tonight was a comedian / magician act. I think we had heard all of the jokes before, and the magic was OK, but nothing special. In fairness, if we were hearing the jokes for the first time, it would probably have been a very good show.

After the show we relaxed in Andersons listening to Lisa Harman on the piano. We had seen her before while on Fred Olsen’s Balmoral last year and Lisa impressed us then with her music and singing.

Then came the syndicate quiz and we were joined by two other couples. As we slowly got to know each other over a glass or two of wine, the questions seemed quite easy. At the end I was rather shocked, but very happy, to discover we had won!

Our prize was a bottle of wine and we talked with our fellow quizzers as we drank it. Lisa Harman returned and she played my earlier request for Billy Joel’s ‘Mr Piano Man’. What a very talented pianist and singer.

The sea had become far less lumpy and noisy during the latter part of the day, and we went to bed quite happy from the quiz, the better weather, and the alcohol.

I slept!

 

Sunday 30th July – Arrival into Bordeaux

 

Finally I got to experience the Suite Passengers Only breakfast! The service was exceptional, and our food was individually prepared making the experience really rather special…

…but we don‚Äôt normally eat very much for breakfast.

Adonia had left the Bay of Biscay and was making her way slowly (and gently) along the River Garonne towards the French city of Bordeaux. After breakfast we relaxed on the balcony of our cabin to look at the views, as well as reading and updating our diaries. We passed typical French chateaux and vineyards as well as little islands and vast numbers of fishing pontoons on the side of the river. The weather had finally allowed us to enjoy the balcony. It was not overly sunny, but pleasantly warm.

At midday I went for choir practice where we repeated some simple songs from yesterday. We only have one more session on Wednesday when we will finalise what to sing for the public concert on Thursday evening.

Deb and I met up when singing was over and we went for a snack in the Conservatory. We were both being good and just had soup plus a slice of pizza today to keep our tums content.

By the time our meal was complete, Adonia was just about moored up by the riverside in the centre of the city of Bordeaux. What a scene this was with the imposing architecture as a backdrop while hundreds of local people enjoyed a sunny Sunday afternoon. They were sitting on the grassy area adjacent to the river, or leaning against the riverside railing watching the spectacle of our ship which would become a part of the cityscape for the next 24 hours.

There was a circus just across the river from us where we saw elephants in their lorry based home later in the afternoon. Other people caught glimpses of camels and tigers. The circus was only there for Sunday evening so I doubt if anyone went to watch the performance.

The announcement that we could go ashore was made just after 2:00 but we relaxed for another 45 minutes on the balcony, just absorbing the atmosphere below us. Then it was time to investigate the waterfront area of Bordeaux. We walked for well over an hour really just to get our bearings before going deeper into the city tomorrow morning. Our walk was restricted to the waterfront where there were no shops, but plenty of cafes and bars.

Tonight we made the most of being in a suite, and arranged with the butler to serve our dinner out on the balcony. When he brought us our evening canapes we told him what we wanted from the menu, and he promised to be back to begin the meal just before 7:00.

After showering we ate our canapes and went to Andersons for a pre-dinner drink, and to take part in the Individual Quiz. We lost again, and it was time to return to the cabin and get dressed for our meal…yes we dressed in smart-casual even to eat on our own private balcony.

Just before 7:00 the butler arrived with a tablecloth and cutlery. The table is big enough for four to eat at, so there was plenty of room. He opened our bottle of champagne (provided to all suite passengers) and poured us a glass of fizz each. He then put the pressure stopper on the bottle (provided in suites) to keep it lively and returned it to the fridge. He did offer to get some ice but we assured him the fridge would be perfectly adequate.

As we sat down he came back again with our starters, and then promised to return in a little while with the main course.

With starters completed there was time to sip the champagne before he was back to clear away the used plates and to bring in the main dishes. He refilled the champagne glasses, asked if there was anything else we wanted, told us he would collect our plates later and wished us a lovely evening.

Our table overlooked the waterside and the grassy area and walkway which were packed with youngsters and adults alike enjoying a warm sunny evening. There were Caribbean drummers hammering out their rhythms throughout the meal, and a little further away was some form of dance lesson going on. We had plenty of practice at counting in French from 1 to 4, plus directions for left, right, forwards and back. We had no idea what the dance was or how many were doing it, but it certainly entertained us…

…the drumming however was not appreciated after the first ten minutes!!!

After a delightful dinner we moved on to the Curzon Lounge to listen to the ship’s quartet of singers performing another show. This one was themed on British singers or bands that had been successful in the USA. They sang around 40 songs Рsome just snippets, but many in full Рas well as dancing a bit. It was once again a wonderful 45 minutes and because we have never seen these shows before, it was really great.

Next it was off for a gameshow up in the Crow’s Nest (that we lost again) where we finished our champagne.

This superb evening ended in Andersons with our new friends for the Syndicate quiz. Having won the quiz last night, we started with a score of -1, and we ended just that single point behind the eventual winning team.

Although losers, the six of us still had a good time and left very late to go to bed.

Our overnight stay in Bordeaux meant is would be a quiet and still night, and a chance for some real sleep.


Monday 31st July – Bordeaux (continued)

 

The night had been as peaceful night and motionless as expected, and I slept wonderfully waking refreshed in this rather beautiful city.

Adonia would be staying here for the morning and Deb and I planned to explore the shopping area of the city.

The weather was quite pleasant as we strolled away from the ship, and crossed the combination of road, tram, and cycle paths towards what is known as the Golden Triangle – the main shopping area of Bordeaux.

There were lots of photo opportunities beginning with the monument dedicated to the victims of the revolution. It is a tall pillar in the centre of a circular fountain area with strange horse animals that have dragon claws for their feet. At the top of the pillar is a symbolic angelic figure.

It didn’t take long to reach the commercial area with its mainly narrow pedestrianised streets. There were a lot of familiar-named outlets for fashion as well as less familiar shops. There were many small delightful shops selling different artisan items to look around, and we had no difficulty finding a souvenir fridge magnet.

Deb found a supermarket where she grabbed some of her favourite salad dressing, that cannot be found in Britain, as well as a bottle of local wine.

With a heavy bag of treats we stopped in a small square for a cup of coffee, and watched the locals getting on with their lives. Two groups of school children dressed in orange high visibility jackets came along. They had maps and were obviously on some sort of ‘spot the building or landmark’ challenge.

It was time to make our way back to the ship, but a shop selling artisan jams and pickles caught Deb’s eye and we went inside to explore. As Deb struggled to make out what was in a jar, the owner came over to us with taster sticks of his chocolate spreads… delicious.

Of course we bought some, and a set of little relishes as well. We even bought a new shopping bag to put our purchases in, and that will become another of our collection of bags from around the world.

It was 11:00 when we got back on board Adonia, and the weather was good enough to enjoy the sun on the balcony for a little while longer before lunch.

At midday the ship began the journey back towards the dreaded Bay of Biscay for the journey south to Bilbao in Northern Spain. At least the three hour trip down the river would be smooth before the expected return to the windy conditions and a lumpy sea,

After another individual quiz challenge where Deb lost in a tie break with one of our Syndicate team, we went to dinner in the main dining room. It was not an enjoyable experience with less than interesting food, and an uncomfortable atmosphere around the table. It proved to be the last time we ate here.

We didn‚Äôt bother with the cabaret this evening, and simple read our books before going to the Crow‚Äôs Nest for the gameshow. It was based on BBC‚Äôs ‚ÄėPointless‚Äô quiz and our names were drawn from a hat to take part.

We won.

Our prize was a bottle of the house wine, plus a wine cooler.

Slightly surprised, but very happy with our success, we made our way to Anderson’s to meet up with our team for the late night challenge.

We won again!

After the quiz the resident duo began their music set, and the six of us went to the Curzon Lounge to drink our prize and talk loudly again. There was ballroom dancing in the background, and Deb was taken for a dance by one of the men from our team.

By the time we left the lounge it was empty, and after midnight. It was time for bed but we were back in the Bay again and the sea was unfriendly once more. I took no chances and had a little white pill to keep my head and stomach comfortable.


Tuesday 1st August – Bilbao

 

I slept fitfully until the noises associated with docking were too much to ignore. Being at the stern of the ship, and quite low down on C Deck, the noises were much louder than I have experienced before. The thrusters were very obvious, and even the motors for the mooring ropes were quite loud.

Adonia docked at the cruise terminal of Getxo which is some 20 kilometres from the City of Bilbao in Northern Spain.

Our morning began with a trip to the Ocean Grill for breakfast. The weather was not looking promising as we enjoyed the peaceful surroundings of the quiet restaurant and the view from the window.

We were in no hurry to leave the ship but many passengers were galloping from Adonia to board tour coaches as soon as the all-clear to go ashore was announced. Others were rushing to catch an early shuttle into the city, but we decided to wait until the shops were definitely open.

Eventually we gathered together our cameras, maps and money. It was time to go, and we put on our rainproof macs to make the walk along the quayside to the terminal building and the waiting shuttle buses.

Our bus ride was little more than 20 minutes, and after quite a scenic drive, we were dropped off in an area close to where we wanted to go. The rain had stopped by now, and it was pleasantly warm with the sunshine making an appearance. Our aim was to look at Bilbao’s iconic Gugenheim museum. We had no intention of going inside, but the building itself is a sensational example of modern architecture, and it has a giant sculpture outside of a dog covered in flowers.

We wandered around the vast building for over an hour. There were fantastic sculptures and water features to look at, as well as photograph displays of ‚Äėbefore‚Äô and ‚Äėafter‚Äô the construction of this wonderful building. An amusing addition was a group of three people dressed in bird costumes, with beaks made from short planks of wood that ‚Äėclacked‚Äô as they were opened and closed. The rhythmic clacking attracted quite a crowd, but the fun part was when someone dropped coins into their tin. To give their thanks, the three birds ceased clacking, and then bowed forward until their beaks rested on the ground.

We took a lot of photographs, and stopped a couple of times to sit on a bench to enjoy the atmosphere and views. My knees were aching and it was time to walk back towards the shuttle bus stop. On the way we stopped in a souvenir shop to get the usual fridge magnet, plus a little object that will be added to our Christmas tree box.

After lunch (in the buffet) we enjoyed more time on the balcony. The sun came and went, but when it was saying hello to us, the warmth was delightful.

After canapes, and another unsuccessful individual quiz, we readied ourselves for dinner in the  Glass House. We were early to allow us to enjoy as much of the evening on board Adonia as possible. In reality we were so early arriving in the restaurant, we had to go and find the waiters who were in a back area preparing for a wine tasting meal for a handful of passengers who had paid a premium for the experience.

It wasn’t long before we were tucking into a delicious meal. We had eaten in the Glass House on Aurora and knew what to expect, and the meal tonight didn’t let us down.

From the restaurant on deck 10 we made our way to the Curzon Lounge for another show from the hard working singers. Tonight it was called ‚ÄėMagic Moments‚Äô based on the life and songs of Burt Bacharat and Hal David. As with all the shows that these four talented youngsters performed, it was wonderful. I could really see this being rolled out across the fleet.

Our evening was finally rounded off in Anderson’s with 20 questions with our friends. It was not a good effort and for the first time our score was well short of the winners.

Meanwhile Adonia was sailing north westwards across the Bay of Biscay. The state of the sea had not changed, and we were jiggling and rocking around again. We have a day at sea to come before we arrive at the island of Guernsey.

Ah well, it’s time for a little white pill again….goodnight.


Wednesday 2nd August ‚Äď Up and down in the Bay of Biscay

 

Without going into too much detail, it was rough!

It got worse during the day and even Deb took to a little white pill to keep her stomach stable. The day for us was very much about indoor activities. We took to the quizzes and in the morning I actually won one about UK cities.

At lunchtime it was the final scheduled choir practice where we sorted out our songs for the performances tomorrow evening.

Following that Deb and I had a bit of lunch and then turned our attention to the Battle of the Sexes. The ladies were winners, and they had a bottle of chocolates as a prize…while we men licked our wounds.

In the afternoon there was a chance to watch a play performed by the song and dance team. It was by Alan Ayckbourne and lasted almost three hours. We decided to pass on this and simply relaxed in the lounges with our books.

Late in the afternoon Captain Simon Love gave his daily update on progress and the weather forecast. It was not good. The bumpy weather was set to continue, and the chances of getting ashore in Guernsey tomorrow are not looking good.

This was the second and final formal night, and we usually go to the main dining room when dressed up, but not tonight. We stayed in our casual clothes and ate in the buffet. At least they can produce food with flavour that I find missing with the main dining room offerings.

Now we got dressed up for the rest of the evening. The primary entertainment tonight was a singer in the Curzon that didn‚Äôt appeal to us, so we went to the Card Room which becomes the cinema in the evening. We watched a comedy about pensioners becoming bank robbers called ‚ÄėGolden Years‚Äô. It had a really good cast and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The only downside was that the chairs were not very comfortable for sitting that long‚Ķwell not for my legs anyway.

At 10:30 we met up in Anderson’s and our team had an atrocious performance in the Syndicate Quiz.

…I blame it on the little white pills.

Time to be rocked to sleep again.


Thursday 3rd August ‚Äď Guernsey

 

As we were having breakfast in the Ocean Grill, our captain came on the PA system to say good morning. It was the bad news that although the weather is better, the wind is still too strong, and the waves are too big to allow the tenders to be used. We are anchored in the Bay of St Peter Port, and that is where we will stay until the middle of the afternoon.

It is really annoying when you can see the island so close, but not being able to get there.

The entertainment crew had already got a plan in place, and a timetable of activities were announced and rolled out to keep us occupied…if not happy.

More quizzes, more talks, a workshop from the magician to teach people some simple tricks, and another session of the choir. There was even a further round in the Battle of the Sexes. The men failed to take revenge with the ladies making us look stupid again.

Of course while this was all happening we had to pack our cases. It didn’t take very long and we just had the final cases to complete in the evening.

Our last dinner on board was back in the Ocean Grill where we were welcomed by the now very familiar waiters and waitresses. We decided to avoid the starter course in the hopes that we could finally try out the deserts. The main course, and the pudding, was delicious. Unfortunately I had to make my apologies and leave early for the first of the choir’s performances this evening.

The programme of singing was quite short, but the fifteen minutes seemed to go down very well with the audiences that came to see us. We sang in the atrium area at the top of the staircase in front of the shops, so it was difficult for anyone walking along the deck to avoid us. We had a second performance later in the evening, and I really enjoyed the experience.

Thanks Kelly for your efforts turning a little group of us into something worth listening to.

In between our performances we watched another show in the Curzon Lounge called ‚ÄėA night at the Palladium‚Äô. Yes the boys and girls were once again terrific.

Our final evening was completed by another thrashing with our Syndicate friends. We said our goodbyes and thanked each other for a short but very sweet friendship.

Back at our Suite, we filled the final case and put it outside.

Tomorrow we would wake up in Southampton.


Friday 4th August ‚Äď Home Again

 

It was another noisy end to the night as we arrived in Southampton and tied up at the dockside. Looking out from the balcony we could see the Queen Mary 2 at the adjacent terminal. We were one of the smallest ships sailing from Southampton, and there was one of the biggest.

The final breakfast was just as sweet as the others in the Ocean Grill, but we didn’t eat very much. I think this private breakfast for the passengers from the ten suites is one of the best parts of choosing these cabins.

The expected disembarkation time was 8:30, and just after 8:00 we had washed, collected together the last of our bits and pieces, and said goodbye to this amazing cabin. We walked to our collection point in Anderson’s, but before we could sit down, we were instructed to disembark. Well before 8:30 we had found our suitcases in the vast hall that was so empty with just 700 passengers to service.

Quickly through the terminal building, we phoned the taxi company to take us back to our car, and by 8:45 we were loading up our car once more for the journey home.

This had been the quickest and smoothest disembarkation in 18 years of cruising.

We didn’t go home immediately as we had arranged to meet up with two of our friends we made on the World Cruise. They stayed overnight in Southampton before joining Adonia today. We met up in Weatherspoon’s for a cup of coffee and a chat. It was an opportunity to catch up with each other, and for us to tell them about Adonia as this was their first cruise on her as well.

Eventually we were on the road towards home with some wonderful memories of Adonia, Bordeaux and Bilbao.

Now where are we going next?

Summary

 

During the seven days we had sailed some 1400 nautical miles. Adonia had ploughed its way through seas that were rarely better than Force 3 conditions and spent some time at Force 6. The sun occasionally said hello, but it was certainly not August temperatures, and we completely missed Guernsey…

…but we still had very good time.

Adonia is small but is charming. As many have said, it is like being in a Manor House hotel with very friendly and personal service. The entertainment was simpler than normal but I personally found the resident show team to be wonderful, and the small lounge area was never crowded, and allowed good views of the action.

Our suite was of course sensational, and I recommend that everyone should try and sample a suite if possible. It is a different experience, and will not disappoint, even if the Butler is a little underused. I doubt we will ever have another chance like this to live in a different level of luxury at a ridiculously low price.

The ports we visited were new to us. We didn’t plan anything other than a look around and get a feel for the cities of Bordeaux and Bilbao. Bordeaux was exceptionally pretty, and I hope we get back there one day. We saw very little of Bilbao but again it felt good, and needs a further exploration.

On the negative side, the smallness of the ship does mean it moves a lot more in the heavy seas, and there is far more noise when on the lower deck that we chose. If we were to go back on Adonia I suspect we would be in a balcony cabin. They are a good size with a typical balcony big enough to sit and enjoy the sunshine or fresh air. The bathrooms are unfortunately rather small, and in particular the shower cubicles will shock many who have sailed on any of the other P&O ships.

The food in the main dining room was a real let down. The menu, which has been in use for several months now across the fleet, is adequate….but not for those of us who do not like fish. I also find the food bland. I don’t put this down to a lack of seasoning, as I am not a fan of too much salt. I suspect that I would struggle to blind-taste the difference between many of the vegetables served, and the meat is again less than distinctive. Beef is often the alternative to fish, and certainly appeared on the two meals we had in there in three days.

Overall I would recommend Adonia, but you must not see her as typical of modern cruising. Instead she is a wonderful change from the ships many of us are used to. She provides a chance to return to a previous age perhaps, with fewer passengers and a distinctly more personal atmosphere. If you have a weak stomach I recommend avoiding the extremes of the ship, and remember that the lower C Deck can be noisy when docking.

Well, Deb and I have the summer to visit friends and family before we consider our next cruise. Currently we have nothing booked until January 2019, but we have some ideas for a return to our favourite medium size ships, and a return to the Western Mediterranean ports perhaps.

Would we consider Adonia again?

She is not perhaps my personal preference…but we never say never.

Some photos of our suite on ‘Adonia’

Sitting room with balcony behind, seen from the entrance lobby
Sitting room, with bedroom behind, seen from the balcony
Bedroom, with dressing area behind, seen from the balcony
Bedroom, from the dressing area
Dressing area, from bedroom
Wardrobes in dressing area, and TV/storage cupboards in bedroom
Bedroom end of the balcony
Sitting room end of the balcony
George relaxing on the balcony

“Adonia” – a small ship, but perfectly formed!

Thursday July 27 – Southampton

George’s birthday today, and after we finished the bulk of our packing we spent an hour or so getting the house ready to be abandoned for a week. ¬†That meant picking and freezing runner beans, watering all the garden container plants, filling a ‘reservoir’ for the tomatoes in the greenhouse, and putting clean linen on our bed. ¬†I managed to get all the washing done, too, and left it over the dryer-rack in the spare bedroom.

We had an early lunch and were on our way before 1.00 pm, and although the roads were unusually busy all the way we were checking into the Holiday Inn by Southampton docks around three hours later, so not too bad. ¬†Nice receptionist sorted us out a room with a view of the Mayflower Terminal so we could check ‘Adonia’ had arrived the next morning!

We settled in and both had a bath before walking into the city. ¬†We opted to eat at an Italian place that we’ve been to before, but this time wished we hadn’t. ¬†Our garlic bread starter was not what we expected – it was like a thin pizza base with garlic in the dough – and we then waited aged for our main course pizzas. ¬†And we waited. ¬†And we waited some more. ¬†In the end we just asked for the bill for what we’d already had as we were now running late. ¬†The restaurant slightly redeemed itself by waiving any charges, which was good, though we were still hungry, which wasn’t so good.

The reason for our rush was that we needed to walk to the Mayflower Theatre, where we had tickets to see the “The Addams Family Musical”, starring Samantha Womack as Morticia and Les Dennis as Uncle Fester. ¬†Well, it was very good, really funny. ¬†The guy playing Lurch stole the show towards the end (but I won’t say more and spoil it for anyone planning to see it!).

Back at the hotel we had a glass of wine, before turning in.  Tomorrow Рto the ship!

 

Friday July 28 – Southampton

As usual, neither of us slept well (strange beds always do that to us) and we were up and breakfasted (large breakfasts, to make up for not eating last night) quite early. ¬†Our taxi to the ship was booked for 11.30 am, so we plenty of time for some shopping in West Quay where we both had a couple of bits to look for (mostly successfully, I’m pleased to say!).

We checked out of our room and were sitting in the reception lobby waiting for our taxi when we spotted Les Dennis. ¬†We had a brief chat with him about last night’s show before our taxi arrived. ¬†Although it was barely 11.45 am when we checked in there were already around 50 people sitting clutching their boarding passes. ¬†We were welcomed to the Priority waiting area where we just had time for a drink and cake before being escorted on board. ¬†We were taken straight to the Pacific restaurant for our ‘priority’ buffet lunch, where we had a chat with another couple and a few glasses of fizz along with our food.

There was a “cabin’s are ready” announcement, so we made our way to our suite. ¬†Having never had a suite on board before, we were pretty gobsmacked by the size of it – we’ve had cabins smaller than the bathroom here! ¬†And along with the huge bathroom there was a large sitting room (3-piece suite, dining table and four chairs, and giant TV in a unit with DVD player and music system), bedroom with three double wardrobes, dressing table, separate desk and another TV, and what was described as a “guest cloakroom”. ¬†The balcony wrapped around the side and aft of the ship, opening from both the bedroom and sitting room, with sunbeds, recliner chairs and a table and upright chairs ready for some decent weather.

Unpacking our cases proved interesting: there was so much storage space that we couldn’t decide where to put stuff! ¬†We ended up using one of the wardrobes to store our empty cases in! ¬†Must admit, though, that I missed having a bedside cabinet (there was just a small table each instead) as a small drawer is handy for hiding away things like our glasses and various pills. ¬†But I was sure we’d manage!

Our butler came and introduced himself, followed shortly by our cabin steward. ¬†I made use of the butler later to show me how to work the jacuzzi in the bath, as I couldn’t figure it out when I had a dip before dinner, but to be honest I’m not sure about having a ‘servant’ – we’ll see.

Bags unpacked, we went exploring, working our way down from the top of the ship. ¬†It didn’t take long, as this ship is DINKY! ¬†Our enormous suite seems even more surreal by comparison. ¬†But first impressions are very favourable, and we booked dinner for the evening in the Ocean Grill (they had a 33% price reduction offer – love a bargain, me!). ¬†We also ran into Aaron, one of the entertainment team who was on ‘Aurora’ with us on the world cruise earlier this year; he remembered us, which might or might not be a good thing!

We left Southampton in a bit of a drizzle, but as we passed Portsmouth we went out onto Prom Deck to see the new American giant aircraft carrier (the USS George H W Bush) anchored there.  What a monster!  Apparently there are 90 aircraft on board!

Our dinner in the Ocean Grill was lovely, and as is often the case with these things our tums just couldn’t stretch to a pudding after everything else. ¬†But we thoroughly enjoyed what we did have, and the steaks were cooked to perfection.

The rest of our evening was spent firstly watching a show – the Adonia Theatre Company performing “No Town Like Motown”, which being a huge Motown fan I enjoyed enormously. ¬†Then we made our way to the Crow’s Nest for the first quiz of the cruise, which was about British sitcoms, and although we’d done this quiz before we still didn’t manage to win it! ¬†The old memory’s not what it was…

And that was enough for us. ¬†We went to bed not knowing what sort of a night we’d have, what with a strange bed, strange noises – and pretty lumpy seas. ¬†George took a seasickness pill and crossed his fingers.

We’ll see. ¬†Goodnight (I hope)

 

Saturday July 29 ‚Äď at sea

Not a good night at all.  Not because of the motion of the ocean so much as the duvet being annoyingly hot.

George was up early, making tea so he could take another Stugeron. ¬†He decided he didn’t want any breakfast so I made my lonely way to the Ocean Grill where a select brekkie was laid on for all passengers in suites. ¬†It was fine – a full selection to choose from, with hot items, including toast, cooked to order. ¬†I was also offered a complimentary glass of Buck’s Fizz to welcome me aboard, but I couldn’t face alcohol at 8.00 in the morning!

While George spent most of the morning trying not to throw up I went along to the Crow’s Nest for an informal meet-and-mingle with five other passengers who’d been in touch through Facebook. ¬†We sat chatting for an hour or so, and then when Aaron came in to run a themed quiz (celebrity chefs this time), we joined in as a team. ¬†And just like last night, the quiz was familiar, but still no win!

Feeling better by midday, George went along to the Adonia Vocalists rehearsal, while I grabbed some lunch. ¬†Then we met up again and both joined in with a play reading workshop, where the subject was scene two of Noel Coward’s “Private Lives”. ¬†It was an amusing session, very easy to take part in, and I think we all learned something from it. ¬†I hope there’s another session like it later in the cruise, but it’s not looking too hopeful.

Straight after ‘acting’ we both joined in with the Battle of the Sexes. ¬†I was nominated as the ladies’ captain, and I’m pleased to say we beat the men by 300 points to 130. ¬†Great result!

Back in the cabin I had another go at having a jacuzzi bath, and this time I got it to work properly.  But I must remember next time not to put quite so much bath gel in Рthe bubbles rose up, and rose up, and rose up some more!  How it never tipped over onto the floor I shall never know!

Tonight was the ‘welcome on board’ bun fight, held in the Curzon Lounge. ¬†Must more ‘regimented’ than we’ve experienced previously, with no change to mingle and chat to the officers: we were firmly ‘invited’ to take a seat, and the seating was all laid out ready for the evening show. ¬†Bit strange.

After that we introduced ourselves to our dinner table companions for the first time. ¬†There’s a married couple, and two sisters who’ve both left their other halves at home. ¬†The so-called gala menu was pretty uninspiring and the service was atrocious: we actually complained to the head waiter as we left the room. ¬†Hopefully things will improve from here on in, but we are seriously thinking about getting our meals served by our butler in the suite or on the balcony.

We watched a¬†comedian after dinner: he was okay but unfortunately we’d heard every single joke before, and even the ‘comedy magic’ was nothing new. ¬†Hey ho.

There was a singer/pianist playing in Andersons this evening, Lisa Harman. ¬†We’d heard her on ‘Balmoral’ last year and knew she was very good, so went and had a listen and a bit of a chat. ¬†We also kept winding her up by asking for Genesis or Led Zeppelin numbers – she’s said she’ll see what she can do as she likes a challenge! ¬†She did do Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” though, so we didn’t beat her on that one!

The syndicate quiz was held in Andersons, so we hung around for that and were joined by two other couples to make up a team.  Pleased to report that we won the bottle of wine, so a good result all round.

 

Sunday July 30 – Bordeaux

We lost an hour in the night, but were still up well before 8.00 am. ¬† Breakfast was in the Ocean Grill again, where once again the food was beautifully cooked and served. ¬†It’s certainly a very civilised way to start the day!

As ‘Adonia’ began sailing into the Garonne River towards Bordeaux we had our first opportunity to make use of the huge balcony outside our suite doors. ¬†George sat at the table and began catching up with his blog, while I stretched out on one of the sun-loungers and read the various port info bits I’d brought along. ¬†And the sun began to break through the clouds!

The sail up the river took a good three hours. ¬†It’s obviously pretty shallow as we were churning up mud pretty much all the way along. ¬†But the passing scenery was good, especially as we went through the Medoc wine-growing region where we spotted lots of vineyards and associated wineries.

We got off the ship almost as soon as the Deputy Captain said we could. ¬†Our plan for today was to just walk along the river-front towards the Pont de Pierre, and just generally get our bearings as we knew nothing much would be open as today’s Sunday. ¬†It was a pleasant walk, the weather was good, and all along there was music playing and families out for the afternoon. ¬†The architecture was lovely, putting us in mind of a mix of Stockholm and St Petersburg, as well as typical French.

We got as far as the Place de la Bourse where there is the Miroir d’Eau, a large paved area that is kind of like a shallow paddling pool. ¬†It gets its name from the fact that when it’s still you can see perfect reflections in it. ¬†Not that it’s still much, what the hundreds of kids (young and old) splashing around, and the little fountains and mist sprays that erupt at random intervals. ¬†I had a bit of a paddle – well, you have to, don’t you?

On our way back to ‘Adonia’ we wandered into the Esplanade des Quinconces to see the Monument aux Girondins, the memorial (more fountains!) to the local people who died during the French Revolution and the Terror that followed. ¬†Normally there’s a large market here, but today a circus had taken over the area. ¬†That should be gone by the morning hopefully – I don’t like seeing wild animals (white tigers, camels, elephants) caged up.

We decided to eat ‘at home’ this evening, so our butler served us dinner on our balcony, which was a lovely experience. ¬†We were also serenaded from on shore – not! ¬†There were two competing sets of bongo players and what sounded like a dance class being called, all within easy earshot of us. ¬†Quite a cacophony!

After dinner we listened to some decent music instead as the Adonia Theatre Company were performing “Top of the Billboard” – songs by British artists that had topped the US charts. ¬†Another excellent show: the four of them work incredibly hard, we’re very impressed.

We failed miserably at the “Majority Rules” game show/quiz, but had a good laugh at it, and with our four friends from last night just failed to win the syndicate quiz again.

A nice day, and tomorrow we’ll look for some shops!

 

Monday July 31 – Bordeaux

We both slept really well, and were woken this morning by odd noises and the ship juddering slightly. ¬†Bit odd, seeing as how the ship was still docked in Bordeaux! ¬†George suggested we were hearing the mooring lines being slackened and/or tightened: it sounds feasible, as the river is tidal so we’d be moving up and down with it.

After another lovely breakfast in Ocean Grill we bounced down the gangplank, today heading for the shops. ¬†Our walk was made more interesting by the quotations painted at intervals on the pavements. ¬†It was quite hard translating some of them, especially where they had worn away, and every single one was facing the direction we’d just come from! ¬†So much twisting and turning on our part was involved.

We easily found the main shopping district (known locally as the ‘golden triangle’) where we managed to spend some euros. ¬†Bordeaux wine, of course, and some items from a delicatessen, and I also found some bottles of the mustard vinaigrette that I love so much and which is no longer sold in the UK. ¬†So I was super-happy!

We had coffee at a pavement cafe before making our way back to ‘Adonia’ which sailed at around 1.00 pm. ¬†It took most of the afternoon for us to navigate our way back out of the river, but we had a lovely view of it as we crashed on the sun loungers on our balcony.

We had a go at the individual quiz, where I lost in a tie-break to one of our syndicate quiz team-mates, and after dinner (service not quite as bad as two days ago, menu still not inspiring us, though) sat reading for an hour before putting our names forward for the ship-board version of “Pointless”. ¬†Our names were drawn out the hat to take part, and thanks to George knowing about football we managed to win it! ¬†So that’s a bottle of house red to have with our meal tomorrow, and another wine cooler that’ll probably end up as a gift for someone.

The six of us met up again for the syndicate quiz, which was another win for us.  We decamped to the Curzon Lounge to drink our prize bottle, and ended up chatting and laughing for well over an hour.  Nice evening, and pretty successful, wine-wise!

 

Tuesday August 1 – Bilbao

We were woken by the docking manoeuvres as we arrived in Getxo, the port for Bilbao. ¬†The weather didn’t look promising first thing – overcast and squally rain – but it was warm, and luckily the sun came out later on.

We had no plans, and nowhere in particular we wanted to visit, so after breakfast (in Ocean Grill again – no slumming it with the hordes in the Conservatory for us!) we jumped on the shuttle bus into Bilboa. ¬†We fancied having a look at the Gugenheim Museum, and the giant puppy made of flowers that guards the entrance, and from the shuttle drop-off point it was only a short walk there. ¬†We weren’t bothered about going into the museum, but we knew there was lots to see outside, and the various statues and installations, together with a series of “then and now” photos of the area, kept us amused for an hour or so.

Our stroll back to the shuttle bus took us through a shopping area, though all we bought was a couple of small souvenirs. ¬†We were back on board in time for a late lunch, and although there had been nothing in Bilbao we’d especially wanted to see we’d enjoyed our short visit and would happily return.

The sun showed its face through the afternoon, so we read and dozed on our balcony loungers, before working our brain cells at the individual quiz.  We opted to eat in the Glass House this evening, taking along the bottle we won yesterday, and where once again we never made it as far as the dessert course! There was no-one else there when we arrived (including staff: we had to go hunting for waiters!), but by the time we left it was pretty busy, including a dozen or so passengers who had booked for the wine-and-food tasting session.

The show in the Curzon Lounge this evening was another superb offering from the Adonia Theatre Company, tonight singing Burt Bacharat/Hal David songs in a show called “Magic Moments”. ¬†Excellent.

Once again our evening ended at the syndicate quiz: we didn’t do well at all tonight. ¬†Ah well, some you win….

 

Wednesday August 2 ‚Äď at sea

A sea day sailing up through the Bay of Biscay, with things getting increasingly bumpy as the time progressed. ¬†Even I took a Stugeron, which is very unusual for me. ¬†And we’ve warned that we might not be able to tender into Guernsey tomorrow, which will be a huge shame.

We relaxed around the ship in the morning, doing nothing much, although George managed to win a quiz about cities of the UK, much to his surprise. ¬†He went off the the Adonia Vocalists session at midday and we later both joined in the Battle of the Sexes again. ¬†The ladies won again, and we got a ‘bottle’ of chocolates to share, which is quite a good result!

The Theatre Company put on an Alan Ayckbourne play in the afternoon, and much as I would have liked to have seen it, it just went on too long. ¬†Instead, we sat in on a “Name That Tune” quiz and generally just relaxed.

Although it was a formal night we ate in the Conservatory buffet as the dining room menu didn’t appeal at all. ¬†Have to say the food in the MDR has been very disappointing – not much choice if you’re not a fish-lover (hello George) and everything pretty bland-tasting. ¬†There seem to be fewer options too, or maybe I’m imagining that?

Anyhow, after a pretty quick meal we changed into our formal night gear so we wouldn’t be thrown out of any of the bars on board! ¬†Pleased to see that the dress code is enforced around the ship. ¬†There was a cabaret act on this evening, but we’ve seen her before so gave her a miss and went to the pictures instead: they were showing “Golden Years” a very funny film starring Bernard Hill and Virginia McKenna, among others, about an old man who accidentally robs a bank. ¬†Well worth seeing.

Afterwards we joined our four quizzing friends in a packed Andersons for the syndicate quiz (failed again) before going to bed with fingers and toes crossed for Guernsey tomorrow.

 

Thursday August 3 ‚Äď at anchor off St Peter Port

We were in the Ocean Grill having our breakfast when the Captain came over the airwaves to tell us that sadly we wouldn’t be able to tender into St Peter Port. ¬†We’d been at anchor for a while and had seen from our balcony that a tender had gone off, but it seems the sea state is just too dangerous and we saw for ourselves that things were a bit wild on the port side of the ship. ¬†We were promised that things would be reviewed throughout the day, but we weren’t holding out much hope. ¬†Really disappointed, as this is such a nice place to visit and I’d been looking forward to exploring Castle Cornet. ¬†But it is what it is.

An ’emergency’ entertainment programme was cobbled together for the day, so we had a few things to do. ¬†There was a “scary stuff” quiz in the morning (we did better than we expected to) and George went to the Adonia Vocalists session just before lunch. ¬†We also started throwing stuff in the suitcases, and I wandered around the ship taking photos of all the public areas, inside and out.

More packing followed lunch, and we both took part in the Battle of the Sexes Rematch.  New team captains today, and even though the men had George in charge the ladies still managed to come out on top.  Again.

We left our anchorage at around 3.30 in the afternoon and sailed straight into heavy, lumpy seas, so out came the Stugeron again. ¬†The sea didn’t settle until later in the evening.

But we were feeling fine in time for our second lovely dinner in Ocean Grill, although George left a few minutes before me as he had to go and prepare to sing: the Vocalists did two short performances from the top of the Atrium, both well received.  I was quite proud!

In between George singing we watched the real singers of the Adonia Theatre Company in a show called “A Night at the Palladium”: another excellent offering from these hard-working young people. ¬†And we ended our cruise with a shockingly bad round of the syndicate quiz, but at least we had a chance to say “goodbye” to the two couples who’d shared our triumphs and failures over the week.

When we returned to our cabin, our big suitcases had disappeared from by the door, and we just needed to put the final (fourth) case out before we went to bed. ¬†And waiting for us in our letterbox were prices we’d asked about for six possible cruises next year.

It has been an interesting cruise, nicely relaxing and quite different on several levels.  Time when we get home to check through those cruise quotes and maybe Рjust maybe Рbook something!

 

Friday August 4 – Southampton

Docking procedures woke us one last time this morning, and we were in the Ocean Grill for our breakfast just after 7.00 am. ¬†We could see ‘Queen Mary 2″ docked at the next terminal, and we later saw ‘Ventura’ and a Princess Line ship both in, so Southampton was having a busy Friday.

Our official disembarkation time was 8.30, but when we made our way to Anderson’s for our meeting point we were told we could go ashore, nearly half an hour before that time. ¬†We were some of the first passengers off, and the baggage reclaim hall was nearly empty (fewer than 700 passengers + a short cruise = not much luggage!), so we found our cases straight away. ¬†Our taxi quickly arrived and took us back to the Holiday Inn where we loaded our stuff into our car.

But we were in no hurry to drive off as we were meeting our world cruise friends for coffee. ¬†Angie and Richard were boarding ‚ÄėAdonia’ today, and we took advantage of being in the city together to have a bit of a catch-up. ¬†It was so lovely so see them again: it was as if we’d only seen them yesterday! ¬†Hope they enjoy their cruise and have better weather than we did!

Roads were busy, and we didn’t get home till mid-afternoon. ¬†The all-important unpacking was done, the first load of washing was on, and a much-needed cup of tea brewed within an hour of unlocking the front door.

Now it’s time to relax. ¬†Tomorrow we’ll do a supermarket shop and begin to attack the garden, and then maybe start planning our next trip on the high seas!